It’s that time of year again.
Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, approaches, and it is time for
tefilah, and teshuvah and zedakah: prayer and repentance
and appeals to give money for charity.
Appeals are blasted on the radio, printed in the papers and sent by email.
Small charity collection boxes and
large collection boxes line many Jerusalem, Israel streets.
Does 100% really go to Zedakah, to the poor?
a friend discusses the sites of successful Jerusalem beggars
from a business marketing perspective.
Techniques are varied,
from a casual stance using a loud-speaker to get attention,
to sitting passively, appearing down and out.
And there is always the traditional plastic cup collection approach.
Israeli VAT, the value added tax, has gone up 1%,
so already high prices are certain to rise as is the cost of living.
Money is tight for most everyone,
so how does one decide where to give one’s charity money?
Hundreds of riders do Wheels of Love to raise money for Alyn Hospital.
Then there is this bike rider who seems to regularly need money for
bus fare to her daughter in Bet Shemesh or a few shekels to buy water.
A few hours after I saw her ride by,
this young woman on the right with a small child slung over her shoulder,
was approaching English speakers on King George Street
asking for 35 shekel to get back to Haifa.
I recognized her from last year with the same story
and suggested she go to the synagogue for help.
I am always impressed how many people walking on Jerusalem, Israel
streets will stop, take out money and give to those out-stretched hands.
What are true opportunities to help strangers or what are scams?
I wish I had an answer to the questions, what do you think?
As the year 5772 comes to an end,
it is time for the new year’s greeting to be back on the buses,
Shanah tovah, Happy New Year.
May 5773 be a prosperous and healthy one for all.